REPTILES OF JAMAICA. Peter Vogel Department of Life Sciences Mona Campus University of the West Indies

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1 REPTILES OF JAMAICA Peter Vogel Department of Life Sciences Mona Campus University of the West Indies

2 Order Testudines: Turtles Jamaican Slider Turtle (freshwater) Marine Turtles

3 Jamaican Slider Turtle (Trachemys terrapen) Endemic to Jamaica, but introduced on some islands of the Bahamas Freshwater lakes, ponds, streams and swamps Carapace length to 200 mm in males To 270 mm in females Hatchlings 40 mm Frugivorous Up to 4 clutches per year; clutch size 3-8

4 Sea Turtles Hawksbill Loggerhead Green Turtle Leatherback

5 Sea Turtle Nests by Species (%) Leatherback 2.7 n = 112 Green Turtle 12.5 Loggerhead 25.9 Hawksbill 58.9 N = 112. Source: Sea Turtle Recovery Network Jamaica

6 Order Crocodilia American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) Size Up to 700 cm (average cm) Hatchlings cm Distribution Southern North America, Central America Cuba, Hispaniola and Jamaica Habitat Food Aquatic; occurs in coastal mangroves, lagoons, marshes, ponds, lower parts of rivers Small mammals, fishes, turtles, birds, crustaceans

7 Crocodile Reproduction Courtship and mating December-January Harems of one male and several females Eggs 30-60, deposited in hole excavated by female in soft sand or gravel Females guard nests Incubation 3-4 months

8 Order Squamata: Sauria (Lizards) Family Gekkonidae (geckos) 9 native species 1 introduced species Family Iguanidae: 8 species Family Teiidae: 1 species Family Scincidae (skinks): 1 species Family Anguidae: 7 species

9 Gekkonidae Aristelliger praesignis (Croaking Lizard) Sphaerodactylus (Polly Lizards): 7 species Gonatodes albigularis Introduced: Hemidactylus

10 Aristelliger praesignis (Croaking Lizard) Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Swan Island SVL to 85 mm Nocturnal; arboreal, but also in houses Eggs with hard shell; laid singly in communal nests Croaks in chorus Well developed digital pads

11 Digital Pads in Geckos Adhesion through van der Waals forces: intermolecular bonds between 2 nonpolar particles. Geckos can sustain over 40 times their own body weights on a vertical surface

12 Sphaerodactylus (Polly Lizards) Sphaerodactylus argus: most common species; non-endemic; SVL 30 mm Six endemic species; SVL mm

13 Gonatodes albigularis Non-endemic; SVL to 40 mm Diurnal; in dry habitats

14 Hemidactylus mabouia Recent introduction; common in Kingston (houses)

15 Iguanidae Anolis: 7 species Cyclura collei: Jamaican Iguana

16 Anolis (anoles) garmani grahami lineatopus opalinus valencienni reconditus sagrei (non-endemic)

17 Anoles cont. Best studied lizards in Caribbean Already discussed: Ecomorphs Within-island radiation Diurnal; sit-and-wait predators Lay one egg at a time; once every 5-7 days in rainy season Able to change colour Several Jamaican species have voice

18 Colour Change in Lizards Coloured pigment granules and black melanocytes below. Melanocytes can expand. Mask pigment granules when expanded. Expansion/contraction controlled by a hormone.

19 Anole Dewlap Communication Male-male competition Male-female interaction Species-specific display patterns, combined with head bobbing Extension by rotation of elongated hyoid cartilage

20 Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei) Genus endemic to Caribbean Islands; species endemic to Jamaica

21 General Characteristics Total length up to 170 cm Strictly diurnal; spends night in rock crevices Mainly on ground, but climbs trees as well Herbivore: eats leaves, fruits and flowers

22 Historical Distribution of the Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei) Fossil: Portland Ridge Taino middens: Kingston to Spanish Town Historical accounts: Kingston to Vere Place name: Liguanea Plain Thought to be extinct by about 1950

23 Rediscovery of the Jamaican Iguana 1970: Hellshire Hills Scientific Survey 1990: Retrieval of live iguana from Hellshire Hills by pig hunter (Edwin Duffus)

24 Iguana Conservation ONGOING: Protecting nesting females and hatching young Protection of major iguana areas from human encroachment Headstarting Control of exotic predators Captive breeding FUTURE: Implementation of Protected Area Management (Portland Bight Protected Area) Re-evaluation of housing plans Establishment of satellite populations (Great Goat Island)

25 Anguidae Celestus (Galliwasp) C. crusculus: most common species; nonendemic Six endemic species; greatly threatened Mainly on ground, secretive; one species on bromeliads ovoviviparous

26 Teiidae Ameiva dorsalis (Ground Lizard) endemic SVL up to 120 mm Scattered distribution along coast Diurnal, active forager Vulnerable to mongoose predation

27 Non-endemic SVL up to 90 mm Diurnal; active forager; ovoviviparous Scincidae (Skinks) Mabuya sloanei Scattered locality along dry south coast Vulnerable to mongoose predation

28 Celestus crusculus SVL to 90 mm

29 SVL to 150 mm Celestus hewardi

30 Celestus duquesneyi Blue-tailed Galliwasp Beautiful but cryptic dry forest inhabitant Known only from Portland Ridge and Hellshire Hills Collected in 1930 s, and again in 1990 s Detectable with special traps; otherwise easily missed

31 Celestus occiduus (Jamaican Giant Galliwasp) Over 60 cm total length; feared to be extinct. Said to have lived near swamps, feeding on fish and fruits

32 Order Squamata: Serpentes (Snakes) 9 species; all endemic Families: Typhlopidae: 1 species Boidae: 1 species Tropidophidae 3 species Colubridae: 4 species

33 Typhlopidae Typhlops jamaicensis (Jamaican Blindsnake) Primitive burrowing snake; eyes reduced ( Twoheaded Snake ) Total length to 50 cm Feeds on ants and termites

34 Boidae Epicrates subflavus (Jamaican Boa, Yellow Snake) Total length to 300 cm Nocturnal Harmless, but often killed on sight Occurs in both wet and dry forests Feeds on small vertebrates

35 Tropidophidae Tropidophis (Thunder Snake) Three closely related species; size to 70 cm Feed on small vertebrates; constrictors (related to boas) Tail tip coloured; used as a lure

36 Colubridae Alsophis ater (Black Racer) SVL to 90 cm Diurnal, active forager; feeds on small vertebrates Vulnerable to mongoose predation Feared to be extinct

37 Colubridae Arrhyton (Garden Snakes) Three small-sized species; common Feed on small vertebrates

38 Arrhyton funereum

39 Diversity of Jamaican Herpetofauna non-endemic endemic total Frogs Turtles Crocodiles 1 1 Lizards Snakes 9 9 Amphibians Reptiles

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